Basking In The Glow


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I steam clean the carpet every six months, more often if there's been any feline "anomalies" taking place in the rooms. Every now and then all three of my cats decide they will become "anomalies" at the same time. It is after these periods that I go out and rent an industrial strength steam cleaner to deal with the results.

This time, I also purchased one of those black light units that, when turned on in a dark room, highlights in white the areas where urine has been detected, thus allowing for "easier" cleanup. The day before I was to shampoo, I took the black light downstairs to the den, turned out all the lights, and plugged it in.

The room was transformed.

I was merely transfixed, with visions of dollar signs escaping from my wallet. The room glowed white from all corners-it came alive in a surrealistic white aura. I didn't know whether I had stepped into a haunted house or a revival of Studio 54 disco.

My male friend, Randy, was with me in the den on this fateful evening of discovery. Randy is a plumber, and as such he is very good with pipe fittings, and offers valuable insight on forays to the Home Depot in search of stylish and functional commodes. But he fails when it comes to being a rock of support while one is surrounded by the permanence-and prominence-of cat urine soaked carpet.

"Wow! Everything's glowing. How cool!" conveyed the Plumber enthusiastically.

"No Randy, there is NOTHING cool about this." I tried to keep my voice in control, but I could feel my nostrils beginning to flair. "There is nothing whatsoever cool about seeing $8,000 worth of carpeting glowing with cat pee. It's going to take a small fortune to ever get this out, so if you think I'll be going with you to attend the Low-Flow Flush Convention in Fresno, forget it!"

It was not to be a romantic night. I spent it with the black light in hand, canvassing the room. My cats were right on my heels, engrossed in the maneuvers I was demonstrating on hands and knees. I think maybe they were admiring their work. My Abyssinian, Mia, although spayed, has been a recreational sprayer since day one. For the first time, under the black light, we were all able to appreciate her low wall murals, which while abstract in nature, had a certain . . . ah . . . "flow" to them.

I brought in the steam cleaner, the special "carpet syringe" for injecting the carpet padding with various solutions, the various highly-priced solutions, and a couple of very large, exquisitely loud, industrial-sized fans. At the end of two days of pressure cleaning, syringing, saturating, and power sucking the carpet with the various devices, I-now permanently hunched from using a cleaning machine designed for people between three and four feet tall-once again turned the blacklight on the carpet.

And the room glowed.

Apparently, this "pee glow", as I've come to call it, might very well be a long term visitor. All the information accompanying the cleaning concoctions informed me that this smell and stain would take some time to dissipate, even with the aid of the large fans that sound as if I'm living in a military cargo plane . . . and a damp one at that!

Fresno is starting to look very exotic. Dare I say, desirable?


About the Author

Lisa-Maria Padilla's writing appears widely online and in print including a regular column for the Abyssinian Cat Club of America, the Maine Coon fanciers "Scratch Sheet", as well as in breed enthusiast publications in Australia, Europe, and the UK.

Her home is outfitted with an Abyssinian, a Bengal, and a 14-year old random-bred shorthair. She shows primarily in TICA, but participates in CFA shows as well. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Lisa-Maria lives in Virginia near Washington, DC and is a professional graphic designer and illustrator.

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